02/12/2003

Soham murder accused admits killing Jessica Chapman

Ian Huntley, the man accused of murdering two 10-year-old schoolgirls in Soham last August, has today admitted that he was responsible for the death of Jessica Chapman.

Mr Huntley, who denies murdering the girls, was in the witness box at the Old Bailey today to give evidence during the second day of the defence case.

Facing questions over the events surrounding the deaths of the two girls at his home in Soham, Cambridgeshire, he testified that Holly Wells suffered a nosebleed shortly after she and Jessica Chapman called at his home to see his then girlfriend, Maxine Carr, who was a teacher at the school.

Mr Huntley said that he brought the children into his house and into an upstairs toilet to fetch some tissue paper for Holly. However, Holly accidentally fell into the bath, he claimed.

Mr Huntley went on to testify that he became distracted and Jessica began to scream. During this time, he claimed that Holly drowned in the bath.

The court was then told that the accused placed a hand over Jessica's mouth to stop her screaming, whilst perhaps restraining her with the other. Shortly afterwards, Mr Huntley said that he realised Jessica had stopped breathing.

It was put to the defendant: "You had killed her, hadn't you?"

To which, Mr Huntley replied: "Yes."

However, at one stage during questions from prosecuting counsel Richard Latham QC, Mr Huntley appeared to lose his temper when it was suggested to him that he had in fact forced Holly under the water in the bath and deliberately killed her.

Mr Latham said that, according to Mr Huntley's version of events, it would have been instinctive for the accused to pull the girl from the bath and save her from drowning, but that he had not done so.

An emotional, Mr Huntley replied: "In these circumstances it is very rational to know what you're doing. In those circumstances, it is not so rational. Believe me, I know."

Mr Latham said: "You can be perfectly assertive when you want to Mr Huntley."

To which, Mr Latham later added: "You have lost your temper with me, haven’t you?"

Mr Huntley affirmed that he had, but it was then put to him that he had also lost his temper with one of the two girls on the evening that they died.

Mr Huntley denied that he had.

Yesterday, Mr Huntley told the court that he disposed of the girls' clothing and burned their bodies in a ditch in Lakenheath, in Suffolk.

Ian Huntley has admitted to one charge of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, but denies murder.

His former girlfriend, Maxine Carr, denies charges of assisting an offender and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

The trial continues at the Old Bailey.

(gmcg)

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Huntley a 'capable and convincing liar', jury told
The prosecution in the Soham murder trial began closing arguments at the Old Bailey today after two days of adjournments following an illness of one of the 12-member jury. The court was told today that Ian Huntley was a "capable and convincing liar" and that the motivation for murder was linked to "something sexual".
17 December 2003
Child killer Huntley handed down two life sentences
Ian Huntley has been handed down two life sentences for the murder of Soham schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman. Maxine Carr, Huntley's former girlfriend, was sentenced to three and a half years for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. She was found not guilty on two charges of assisting an offender.
01 December 2003
Ian Huntley gives evidence at Old Bailey
Ian Huntley, the man who is accused of killing Soham schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, has taken the stand today as the defence began its case at the Old Bailey today. Mr Huntley appeared in the witness box following the conclusion of the prosecution case on Friday.
26 November 2003
Huntley was charged with rape in 1998, court hears
Ian Huntley, the man accused of murdering Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, had been charged with the rape a girl five years ago, the Old Bailey has been told today.
29 September 2005
Huntley to serve 40 years
Double child murderer Ian Huntley is set to serve at least 40 years in jail. Sentencing Huntley today at the High Court, Mr Justice Moses said that Huntley's offences did not meet the criteria for a "whole-life" tariff, but he said that the 40-year tariff offered little or no hope of release.